Snakes on Facebook
I’m standing in a roundabout drive, just outside an apartment building. Something moves to my right. I see it from the corner of my eye. Jumping in fright, I chance another look at the slithering mass of shiny black scales. Its incredibly ugly head is as big as my German Shephard’s! The giant snake isn’t looking at me – yet. I’m just waiting for it to turn its head my way any minute. I wonder to myself, what kind is it? A boa constrictor? I rush to find safety, trying not to run and attract its attention. I slowly make my way toward the safety of the apartment lobby.
Am I going crazy? I pinch myself really hard hoping I will wake up. This beast could kill me in seconds, or worse, it would take hours as it slowly squeezed the life out of me. I shudder with an intense burst of fear. I notice that it brings little relief as I get farther from the creature.
Then, to my utter horror, as I am about to push the revolving doors, there is an even bigger snake waiting. This one fills the entire lobby. I force back a scream, willing my feet to co-operate. This one does look at me, thankfully stuck between me and the glass. Ready for predator action, its hungry red eyes and flicking tongue can only threaten me from behind the protective glass. I turn to run, remembering the other snake that is only 10 feet to my right. I stop and realize I’ve got to move slowly. I do a backward walk. I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace. The Boa eyes me with curiosity but doesn’t come at me. Thank you Lord! I quickly utter a prayer. I will do anything if you let me live!
Moving in the only direction that is snake-free, I am reminded of an old cartoon where the character walks by pretending not to be a nuisance, whistling head up in the air, carefree. Act calm, like nothing is wrong. Pretend it’s just another regular day. Meanwhile, my heart is pounding so hard, it may just pop right out of my chest. All I want to do is run, but if I do, then I will get chased. That gigantic snake is sure to attack me and reach me any minute.
I wish this was a dream. It’s a real-life nightmare.
I try to suppress my fear and panic and not send out any unnecessary pheromones to these creatures who must have escaped from a zoo. I desperately try figuring out how to get away from these things. Where did they come from?
My legs continue carrying me away and I focus on the distance between me and the beast. I am now 20 feet snake-free. Okay, I tell myself, 30 feet and snake-free. Just another few minutes and there must be someplace I can get some help. Feeling far enough to make a break for it, I turn and sprint my hardest, certain that the adrenaline coursing through my veins is propelling me forward at the fastest pace I’ve ever run in my life. I don’t dare look back.
As I run, my brain tries making sense of it all. I can’t recall another time when I have been more scared. This is it. I’m hoping to find someone to talk with or get some help. I suddenly remember that my phone is in my pocket. I don’t feel that I even have enough time to get it out – let alone have time to use it. All I can do is react and get away. As I continue onward, I feel some relief because I now hear some voices as I near the park. I wince as I realize they aren’t happy noises. This sets off my radar that something is horribly wrong.
People are milling about as I run into Liberty Square yelling, “Snakes!”
As I get closer, I can see that the 30 or so people here are in an odd state of shock. Panic has gripped this crowd. There are even more of these horrendous beasts scattered throughout the park. Half the people here are wrapped up in the things. I guess there are 20 massive snakes here.
My heart sinks. I’ve been defeated.
Someone looks at me and is waving a stick at one of the enormous monsters. This snake rears its head back – my god, it looks like a small dragon! I grab an old shoe lying on the ground and throw it at the beast, luckily hitting it square on the head. It’s knocked out and lies there writhing on the grass.
“Thanks!” this person says to me.
“I’m Clyde,” he says. I tell him I’m Gloria.
“Let’s watch each other’s backs.”
He nods, “We’ve got to try and get out of here. I don’t know what’s going on.”
We move in circles with our backs against each other, like so many famous movie scenes. Both of us have grabbed sticks. I see a beer bottle on the ground, break it and am ready to use it as a weapon. More snakes are slithering around us. I turn back when I hear a scream. Clyde has been bitten. I take my beer bottle and smash it into the snakes head, killing it. Clyde has been hurt. He limps over.
I pat his shoulder and we move in a shuffle, hip-to-hip. People are moaning and being bitten, squeezed all around. It is taking everything in me not to scream and just curl up into a ball, giving up. I tell Clyde this. By some small miracle, we make it to the middle of the park by the Liberty Fountain without any further incidents. I am about to climb up when I see that the fountain is full of snakes. Clyde doesn’t notice and I have to yell.
“Don’t. Look!!” I scream at him.
He jumps back and this gets the attention of one, who makes his way over to us.
“Oh no!” I shout.
We take the only path we can that is clear, running away from it. It catches up to us in about two seconds flat. Another snake approaches us. That’s when I notice a stray shopping cart. Clyde holds it and I climb up on it.
Maybe the snake can’t get me here.
Clyde has smacked one of the snakes away, but another persists. It’s still hungry for our blood. It sinks its teeth into Clyde, who is yelling and trying to rip it free from his body. I see one winding up the shopping cart toward me. I am beyond horrified. Everyone around us is either paralyzed by fear, or, like us, fighting for their lives. Two more snakes come our way.
“Clyde! You okay?” He shakes his head.
I get as high up on the shopping cart as I can, trying my best not to fall and tip it over.
This could be the end!
A voice inside me suddenly screams – use your phone, Gloria!!
I fumble for my cell phone, finally dialing 9-1-1. At any moment, I’m going to be bitten. I kick off a snake and luckily nail it. It falls back. I think its angrier now and may retaliate.
My call is finally answered, “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” the female voice says.
I breathe a sigh of relief.
“Please send me help, I’m at the Liberty Square Fountain and there are snakes everywhere.”
She laughs, “Did I hear you right, Ma’am. Did you say snakes?”
I am trying not to get mad.
“Boas, wild snakes..you know? Several people here are being strangled by the things. This is no joke, you need to send help. Listen!!”
I hold the phone out, so she can hear all the screaming and moaning.
“Right, okay. Hang on,” she says. “I can see you now via satellite after plugging in your address on our computer. We’ve got an aerial view.” She continues. “Wow! Those are quite the images. You are right. That is a lot of snakes. Mind if I put some images up on Facebook?” I yell at her that I could care less.
“Look lady,” I threaten. “Send the police, send somebody. I’ve got one crawling up my leg!” I continue to scream at her like a wild banshee. “You’re 9-1-1!! Are you sending some help or not?”
As she answers with a resounding yes, I hear the marching and banging of the riot police. I kick off the scary snake at my feet. I wave and yell at them, “over here!”
The next thing I know everything goes black.
I wake up and feel such relief. I let out a huge sigh. I was right. It was just a dream!! I reach over to my night stand and turn on my bedside light. Next, I get up and walk over to my laptop, bringing it back to bed with me. I move the blankets around my feet and get comfortable. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I start my usual morning routine by logging into Facebook. I shake my head as I see my profile picture. There I am, on a shopping cart with a humongous snake at my feet.
“No..” I whisper. “it really did happen.”
I can’t believe it as I read the comments under my photo.
“Wow! Are you ok, Glor? Call me!!” and “Holy sh*t!! Nice once in a lifetime shot!”
I see one from my best friend.
“Only you, Gloria, would get a photo taken by the cops and land in the 6:00 news! Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, girl! Or maybe you were in the right place at the right time. You survived, right? And, what a story to tell!! Can’t wait to catch up!”
It dawns on me that friends must have called me. How come I didn’t wake up? Was I that tired that I didn’t remember anything? This is so weird.
I see my cell in its charger across the room. There is a red blinking light meaning I’ve got messages. Instead of going for it, I open up Internet Explorer to the City News page. I am one of the top stories. I read with eager interest. Fear creeps up my spine as I read the words. Several people died from snake bites or were crushed to death by the things. Yuck! I wrack my brain for a memory after the police came.
How did I get back home and here to bed?
I try to shrug it off telling myself I will remember.
I’m probably in a state of shock. I try to reassure myself.
Taking some deep breaths I decide to make myself some coffee and figure this thing out. My brain doesn’t seem to want to accept all of this. Before I leave for the kitchen, I chance a look at my leg. I’m not able to dismiss this surreal feeling in my gut. I see two puncture marks surrounded by bruising. I touch the marks and wince. It’s tender. I get up and make my way to the fridge for some ice.
Just as I am attending my wound, I hear a smash. I turn around and am certain I see something big slither down the hall. I slowly put down the ice and tiptoe towards it. I reach for the light switch, and immediately wish I had hidden instead. A gigantic snake head turns my way. We make eye contact. It hisses. It bares its fangs. With little time to react, I scream. Covering my face with my arms, I try to turn and run. I trip instead. My head hits the floor and I pass out.